As people celebrate 34th year of Akwa Ibom state creation, the former member, Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Otuekong) T. O. Akpan JP has appealed to Akwa Ibom State government and the Oku Ibom Ibibio, Nteyin (Dr.) Solomon Daniel Etuk to immortalise His Highness, Obong E. O. Eyo popularly called Eyo Uyo.
In a release signed by the elder statesman and made available to journalists, Chief T.O. Akpan recalled the numerous sacrifices Eyo Uyo made for the creation of Akwa Ibom state, noting like his counterparts in other regions he should be well recognized.
“Obong E. O. Eyo, like his political contemporaries, namely; Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Michael Okpara, Chief K. O. Mbadiwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Abubakar Tafewa balewa, Mrs. Margaret Ekpo, Chief Ibanga Udo Akpabio, suffered severe travails and persecution in the course of fighting for a State for Ibibio people.
“ He was more concerned about the break up of the Cross River State than any other person in the Cross River State.
“For the purpose of fighting for the creation of State, he was imprisoned and detained in Jos and Kaduna Prisons for 25 months from September 17, 1969 to October 9, 1971.
“After his release from Prison, Obong Eyo was given a mandate by Ibibio and Annang to present their case to the Military Government of General Yakubu Gowon in Lagos, (the then capital of Nigeria) for the creation of States in Nigeria. Because of his ability to speak for Ibibio and Annang, and in recognition and appreciation of his services to his people, Obong E. O. Eyo was installed “OBONG IKPAISONG IBIBIO YE ANNANG on the 25th May, 1968.
“ Obong Eyo suffered in the hands of Igbos before and during the Biafran War, yet up till date, no Street, Road or Structure is named after him in Uyo as he was popularly called “EYO UYO”.
Chief T.O.Akpan said his concern in making this appeal for Obong Eyo’s immortalization is based on the fact that unless this is done, Ibibio people will not take its rightful place in the Committee of Nations in Nigeria.
He recalled that Ibibio was regarded as the fourth(4) largest Tribe in Nigeria, adding that presently Ibibio people have been relegated to the background because of disunity, lack of love for one another and lack of cohesion.
“ Indeed, we are an automatic society perpetually at war with ourselves. This may be caused by the failure of Ibibio people to remember, recognize and/or immortalize the person of Obong Eyo, who suffered and sacrificed his life for the creation of Akwa Ibom State, which we all are beneficiaries today.
As an apostle of Obong Eyo, who joined him to fight steadfastly for the creation of MAINLAND STATE now AKWA IBOM STATE, I can testify that Obong Eyo died like a pauper and was not given a befitting burial.
“The then Government of the Cross River State, headed by Chief Dr. Clement Nyong Isong, did not show any interest nor made any financial contribution towards his burial, notwithstanding the fact that Obong Eyo was an erstwhile Member of the then Eastern Region House of Assembly, Chief Whip, Elder Statesman and Obong Ikpaisong Ibibio ye Annang.”
He appealed to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Oku Ibom Ibibio and Ifim Ibom Ibibio respectively, to use their good offices to immortalize Obong E. O. Eyo, in order to remove all barriers that may hunt Ibibio people because of our failure to remember, recognize and/or immortalize a man who made so much sacrifices, suffered severe persecution for the creation of Akwa Ibom State.